It rained on Saturday. It rained and it rained and it rained. And it reminded me how hard it can be to keep a restless toddler entertained indoors. So as much for myself as anyone else, I’m starting a list of rainy day activities. Here are the first ten, there’s another ten to follow – please feel free to add suggestions via the comments section below.
1 Little chef
The kitchen is a good place to spend at least part of a rainy day – not least because making something simple can be spun out into a whole series of activities. First, decide what to make – my toddler requested cookies on Saturday. You can find lovely healthy recipes here, but we went for full fat and sugar (we adapted this recipe).
If your toddler is reluctant to go outside but needs a change of scene despite the weather, discover a vital ingredient is missing and start with a quick trip to the corner shop. Drawing a shopping list so your toddler can find what you’re looking for burns up a bit more time. Then it’s time to put aprons on…
Once the baking is done, you can extend the fun by opening up a cafe or a restaurant, allowing either you or your toddler to be the customer. Alternatively, gather some cuddly toys and set up a teddy bears’ picnic with your baking as the star attraction.
2 Let’s make…
Another great time hoover is a craft activity. Baker Ross and Hobbycraft are full of nice resources that don’t cost much and needn’t be messy if that’s more than you can take. I try to have a few things in a drawer ready for a rainy day.
With Christmas coming, you could start making cards or decorations. If you don’t have anything in the house, take a quick trip to Poundland and you can pick up shiny paper, stickers, glue etc.
We’ve had fun making a treasure box out of an egg box a couple of times lately (idea stolen from Frozen magazine), but I’m ramping it up with a ready made box to decorate from Hobbycraft, which will then be used for the next activity…
3 Treasure hunt
Next up, it’s time to put some treasure in the treasure box. It could be anything – some shiny buttons, a string of beads or even some chocolate coins. Find a hiding place, then draw a treasure map for your toddler. Remember, ‘X’ marks the spot.
4 Domino run
If you’ve got some wooden blocks, dominos or Jenga, that’s all you need to set up a whole run of blocks for your toddler to then topple. Try making it as long as possible, then using various things to knock over the first block – a car, a magic wand etc.
5 Get the waterproofs on…
“Let’s go and jump in muddy puddles,” – this one won’t be for everyone, but as my toddler reminded me this weekend, playing in the rain isn’t so bad, especially if you have your wellies on. There were some huge ‘lakes’ and ‘rivers’ in our local park to jump over and in, and to run through on the scooter. We weren’t outside for long, but enough to get a bit of fresh air and break up the day…
6 Glam up
I don’t have the best jewellery collection, but there are enough bits and pieces in a box to entertain a toddler for a bit. Encourage your toddler to decorate themselves and you – not forgetting to have a look in the mirror or take a photo for the big reveal.
You can then move on the hair styles, nail varnish, trying on shoes (Yes, we have spent part of this evening doing ‘Elsa’ hair).
7 Indoor hide and seek
This one is a big favourite at our house at the moment. Be prepared to play it again and again. And again.
- Collect together lots of wooden animals, plastic animals or cuddly toys.
- Count them.
- Send your toddler out of the room while you hide them.
- Bring them back in to find them all (if you don’t count them, you might continue discovering them for a while).
Then swap roles, your toddler hides the toys, you find them – unless, like mine, your little one is so excited she immediately tells you exactly where they all are.
8 Not bored games
I’ve been really surprised how many board games a toddler can play. Orchard Toys have loads of good ones that even a two or three-year-old can play. Alternatively, try getting a pack of picture cards that allow you to play ‘pairs’. Toddlers have good memories, so once they’ve got the hang of it, be prepared to lose.
Dancing is a great way for a toddler to burn up some energy and watching mummy or daddy bust some moves can put a smile on the grumpiest toddler’s face. All you need is a playlist…
10 Raid the recycling
The recycling box is a good place to look for plastic bottles and cardboard boxes that can be re-purposed on a rainy day – turn an old water bottle into a rocket or a box into a car for a teddy. All it takes is some cutting, sticking and painting.
Mr Tumble shows you how here…
There are more ideas to follow – watch this space!